2 Samuel 12:16
“David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.”
David came to a point in his life when only God could make something happen. Though it was David’s sin that caused his baby boy to be sick, he still believed God could heal that boy. It was the fact that David needed a miracle in his life that moved him to fast for seven days. Though God did not answer David’s prayer, because it wasn’t God’s will, the fact that he fasted shows the importance of a Believer fasting.
Every person will come to situations in life when they need God to step in to make changes. There are many things you can do to get God’s attention to change your situation, but fasting is one of those acts that God established for the Believer to show their need for Him to intervene. Let me share with you a few things about fasting that will be helpful to you the next time you need to fast.
First, fasting is not just for any request. There will be times in life when you will be faced with situations that are greater than others, and it is in these times you need to fast. Fasting is very clearly defined in this story with David that it is going without food and giving yourself to prayer to show God the importance of your request. Mark 9:29 shows that fasting is only for the more serious requests when it says, “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Fasting is for those types of needs where you seriously need God to intervene to change your situation. When you come to this type of situation in your life, it is time to fast and pray to show God your need His intervention.
Second, fasting should be a private matter. Matthew 6:16 says, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” God rebuked the Pharisees for flaunting their times of fasting. Fasting is a very sacred time for you to show God the seriousness of your need for His intervention. The only reason the servants knew David was fasting was because he refused the meals they tried to serve him. When you fast, the Scriptures make it clear that you should keep it private so that God can reward you openly.
Third, fasting is for a set period of time. David fasted for seven days. In the Scriptures, you will always see that fasting is anywhere from one to forty days. I have always found that following the pattern of the Scriptures is the best way to get God to answer prayer. Missing one meal to pray is NOT fasting. God makes it clear in the Scriptures that fasting is missing at least a whole day of food to pray. The length of time you fast will be determined by the degree of your need. You will find when that the degree of the need will determine the time of fasting that is needed.
Fourth, fasting is to get God to accept your will, but you must be willing to accept His will. David fasted and prayed for seven days, but God didn’t come through, and he was fine with God’s answer. The purpose of fasting is to change God’s mind to accept your will, but you must be careful not to get bitter if God doesn’t answer your prayer. Your sole desire in prayer should be for God’s will to be done because His will is always the best for you. Certainly, you should pray believing that God will honor your time of fasting and answer according to your will, but have a willing spirit to accept whatever His will is concerning your request.